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Farm supervisor Makenna smiling inside a container farm while check on baby green butter plants

Spotlight: Makenna

Nature-loving, Outdoorsy, and Adventurous 

I took a deep dive into Makenna’s life while enjoying some of her fresh shishito peppers and hummus. That’s the thing about Makenna… she opens your mind to new things (or maybe I’m just late to the shishito pepper game. Either way, they were delicious).

Being from Boulder, Colorado, Makenna has always been an nature-loving, outdoorsy, adventurous woman. So, when she came to the College of Charleston, she was shocked to see that her roommates didn’t recycle… didn’t compost… left the water running extra long before hopping in the shower… All things that were second nature to her weren’t commonplace here. So what did Makenna do? Introduced new, eco-friendly habits to her friends. Furthermore, she started volunteering and eventually interning with the Green Heart Project while getting her degrees in Biology and Environmental Science. She truly took Urban Ag to the next level by taking otherwise forgotten areas of campus and turning them into gardens, working with the grounds department, running a compost drop off location on campus, and receiving a grant to start a worm compost on campus.

The Love of Farming

Fast forward to her college graduation and her asking herself… what now? Why not travel Southeast Asia for 3 months and learn more about their farming practices?! While traveling, hiking, visiting beaches, and exploring the culture, Makenna spent two weeks volunteering at two different farms, which was organized through WWOOF. Her immediate take away from her experience was how vital their farming operations were. Without their farms, they couldn’t feed their families; it truly comes down to survival. She was grateful for the opportunity to not just pass through and get a glimpse of their culture, but to actually live, understand, and experience their world.

Joining the Vertical Roots Family

Fast forward one more time to how she came onboard at Vertical Roots. She knew she wanted to plant her roots (see what I did there?) in Charleston, so she accepted an insurance job knowing it wasn’t where her heart belonged, but it was a learning experience. While working full time, she got back into the AG world by working at the downtown farmers market and building her own home aquaponics system. She got wind of what was happening at Vertical Roots and immediately got in touch.

Turns out, persistence really does pay off! Makenna started at Vertical Roots in August of 2018 as a farmer. In her short time here, she’s already making moves and is currently transitioning to Site Supervisor. She has loved seeing the growth (there’s now triple the number of farmers than when she started!) and loves feeling empowered to present ideas to people who actually want to hear them and who make every effort to implement them.

She loves coming to work every day. She loves the opportunities to grow, both personally and professionally. She loves being a part of a growing company that values sustainability. She loves her teammates and the contagious passion that permeates our culture. And she can’t wait to see where the next 7 months… and 7 years… take her here.